Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tis the season to make lolly - Selling and the Festive Season

Kellogg's  Norman Rockwell issue

Deck the malls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'tis the season to make lolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

The countdown has begun – now is the time to put the measures in place that will make for a prosperous new year.  IT'S ONLY ONE MONTH UNTIL CHRISTMAS  FOLKS

Many independent retailers rely on the festive season. It can represent as much of half of their annual sales. However all of us in selling are affected by the Christmas season. There is much planning to be done whether it is planning around the factory holiday shut down, the 'quiet period' between Christmas and New Year, or organising sales meetings and trainings in the less busy time or organising and booking the Christmas Team lunch! 
 There is much we can learn from the selling skills of the retailers.

Christmas  tills ringing have an entirely different tone. The fear of things going wrong in this buying season  means it can be anything but festive for retailers.

The business of Christmas is significant because Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers .

Sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate.

In the UK  the Christmas shopping season usually starts from mid November although some stores start selling Christmas cards by  September.

For most it starts around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on.

The increased level of demand, through both on line and offline sales channels, puts pressure on retailers’ operational systems and processes. The infrastructure of a retail operation needs to be robust enough to cope with the influx of orders.

For example according to eBay, 79% of shoppers are likely to purchase from another retailer or brand when a product is back ordered or out of stock.

Mistakes and delays result in disappointed customers and missed opportunities.
A newer trend is that the shape of the holiday season has changed. 

On-line shopping and the import of  USA's Black Friday on Friday 27th of November  this year , such sales have fixed a host of new dates in the UK’s retail calendar.

 However Aldi is to follow Asda’s lead and not acknowledge Black Friday  this year– insisting its customers get the best deals every day.

For Vodafone self control of Black Friday
 was lost to Red Thursday to get ahead !

Prepare for the Christmas selling window

Retail is detail - Preparation

·        Don’t be caught on-the-hop : From customer service to handling extra stock coming in for promotions – make sure you don’t get caught out by being under prepared

·        Fine tune your inventory/ stock: Early season discounts  can significantly erode demand during the traditional January sales. Take this into account when stocking up.

Don’t let your discounting dim your sparkle out of Christmas : many consumers have become conditioned to wait for promotions before making a purchase due to the challenge of increasingly rapid retail cycle of product launches and sales. Analyse your data carefully to identify products you can afford to promote – then offer targeted reductions across your product mix to draw your discount hunters without sacrificing margins across your whole product range.

Keep your delivery promise in check : Couriers are also under huge pressure over the holiday season. This can have an impact on the supply chain and on your ability to get  your goods into the hands of your customers. If you know your operations and those of your couriers will be under particular strain, you can always extend the delivery times you offer. It’s much better to set expectations a little lower and exceed them than the other way round.

·        Exploit  unparalleled on line traffic especially Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Being able to cope with the expected spike in visitors to your site is crucial for your success.

Postscript on 19th December The Daily Express front page

Photo of Daily Express front page on #panicsaturday
Who was panicking ? the retailer or the consumer

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